Category Archives: My Morocco Page

“Is Israeli couscous really couscous? Aie Aie Aie “besteeya”

The Kasbah Chronicles: January 2019: Mint Tea and Minarets: eBook LIVE!!!

December sunset in Vista CA

Footsteps in the sand, Oceanside, CA

CONTENTS:

Mint Tea and Minarets is now downloadable for Kindle
(more eplatforms coming soon)

Please help me spread the word!

Just send
https://www.amazon.com/Mint-Tea-Minarets-Moroccan-Memories-ebook/dp/
If you are inclined to download the book, a review would be much appreciated. I am told I need ten reviews to get the ball rolling.

 

MUSINGS:
It’s raining: Time to make soup!
Kitty in the media: a fun surprise 
Queen Califia’s Magic Circle reopens
Escondido (CA): Manzanar as seen through the lens of Ansel Adams
 French Conversation for Dummies (not MY students!)
La Fête des Rois (in time for 2020)
 In English and en français: Notable Links  
News from Morocco and beyond

Do you have the same feeling I do, that 2018 was only 6 months long? I can’t get used to the head-spinning speed of “as time goes by.” So much to explore, so little time!

Like many of you, I was shocked at the tragic events that befell the two young Norwegian women trekkers in the Atlas Mountains last December. Many Moroccans gathered spontaneously at the embassies involved, to offer condolences and apologies, feelings shared by many of their compatriots. That said, I have to admit that I sometimes feel safer walking around a medina than I do walking across some US parking lots after dark (I was mugged in broad daylight in the parking lot of Target in Vista 20 years ago…)
 
Kitty in the media: A fun surprise for me:
Edible San Diego, Nov-Dec 2018: http://ediblesandiego.ediblecommunities.com/digital-editions
Couscous with Pomegranate and Buttermilk.. a recipe of mine from 2008!  pp 38 and 39. Pick up a FREE copy of this mouth-watering magazine at any San Diego County farmer’s market.  We planted a pomegranate tree specially so my husband could enjoy one of his favorite fruits. This year, it produced fruit weighing over ONE pound each!

It’s raining! Soup’s on

My Pavlovian response to a blessed rainy day is always  to make soup:
Here is a favorite from The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco, co-authored with Danielle Mamane.

Dodie’s Bean Soup with Preserved Lemons 
Serves 6 

Thank you to Dodie Hazan, a transplanted Fassia (Fez native), who now resides in Montreal, and who provided the recipe for my book.
 
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika 
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups dried baby lima beans, soaked and drained 
2 bay leaves
5 cups broth 
12 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 to 3/4 of a preserved lemon MAKE YOUR OWN! WATCH ME ON YOUTUBE!!!
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
2 teaspoons salt

Loubia de Dodie

In a small bowl, blend the paprika with the olive oil. Mix to a paste.  In a large pot over medium high heat, cook the paprika paste, stirring  until it darkens slightly.Add the beans, bay leaves, and broth. Stir to blend. Cover and bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Cook until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Discard the bay leaves. Add the garlic, cumin, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir to blend. Cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. 
Scrape the pulp from the preserved lemon, and reserve for another use. Dice the rind and add it to the beans, along with the pepper, and salt. Heat through and serve with plenty of crusty bread.

Kitty’s Preserved Lemons
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGcBPRYKd-4

News close to home: Niki de St Phalle/Queen Califia update:
https://www.thecoastnews.com/artist-niki-de-saint-phalles-queen-califias-magical-circle/ 

I have mentioned this local art treasure before: Queen Califia’s Magic Circle, created by Niki de St Phalle, specially for San Diego residents (mainly children). Vandals disfigured this world-renowned landmark, and it has taken many months to restore. I am happy to say that Queen Califia has reopened on special days, at certain times, so docents can keep an eye on things. This is the perfect destination on a sunny day (behind North County Mall in Escondido).

Meanwhile, a most moving exhibit at the California Center for the Arts(http://artcenter.org/event/manzanar-the-wartime-photographs-of-ansel-adams-wendy-maruyama) in Escondido, a new show at the Center (where you can book a private, docented tour for a minimum of four people, with yours truly, upon reservation)  
“Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams:
A most moving show, and, unfortunately, very topical.

“An intimate look through the lens of celebrated photographer, Ansel Adams, at daily life in Manzanar, one of ten Japanese-American incarceration camps in the US during World War II. His work in Manzanar … providing a glimpse into the lives of the thousands of Japanese-Americans that were interned during one of the darkest moments in US history.” 

From Morocco and beyond:

Yes, Virginia, even though most Moroccans are carnivores, and celebrate by roasting a WHOLE lamb on a spit (I can’t wait to dig into a meltingly-tender lamb mechoui during our tour to Morocco in April!!) THERE IS A BURGEONING VEGAN movement:
https://mobile.telquel.ma/2018/12/14/phenomene-le-troupeau-clairseme-des-vegans-marocains

The Pope visits Morocco in March:

Le pape François se rendra en visite au Maroc, à Rabat et à Casablanca, les 30 et 31 mars 2019, près de 34 ans après la visite de Jean Paul II dans ce royaume, a annoncé mardi le Vatican.
 My father (who lived in Morocco 50 years) long recalled a papal visit to Casablanca decades ago. Throngs of Moroccans turned out to welcome the religious leader, so much so, that the Pope had to conduct mass in the sports stadium.

Heart-stopping video of Morocco seen from the air: take a few minutes to search for this on YouTube. 
 Le Maroc vu du Ciel(Morocco from the air). Look for the English translation
https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&hsimp

Casablanca reborn: My hometown is becoming famous not only for its vintage Moorish Art Deco architecture but also for its modern profile: Casablanca is known as the Paris of Africa!

https://telquel.ma/2018/08/25/ces-chantiers-a-casablanca-qui-devraient-voir-le-jour-avant-2019

VALENTINE’S:  A Moroccan mail-order gift for your Valentine:
Meska Sweets specializes in authentic Moroccan pastries, and was Featured in the NY Times in 2018:
team@meskasweets.com. Authentic and lovely packaging too!

Francophones et francophiles : La Fete des Rois, January 6th
(Feast of the Kings)  Better late than never:

When I grew up in Morocco, my mother purchased our galette des rois from our favorite pâtisserie (La Normande, the one I wrote about in Mint Tea and Minarets.) We savored each buttery bite of puff pastry oozing ambrosial almond paste careful not no break a tooth on the tiny ceramic “fève” (literally, fava bean) hidden among the feathery layers—If we found it, one of us would be crowned a king or queen!  Would you believe I walked into a 99 cent store a few years back, and purchased 10 embossed, golden cardboard crowns, PERFECT for le jour des rois. The tradition lives on: some fèves are still made in France!
https://france-amerique.com/en/king-cake-a-french-tradition-little-known-in-the-u-s/

“This golden, frangipane-filled puff pastry appears in boulangeries and patisseries at the end of December. King cake or la galette des rois, is traditionally eaten with the family on the first Sunday after New Year’s Day, but many enjoy it from December 31 and throughout the whole month of January . . . Most figurines are now mass-produced in China and Vietnam. But one company, Colas, is resisting this relocation. Based in Clamecy in the Nièvre département, it is one of the last pottery works that still makes its figurines by hand. The recent models include sailing knots, French presidents, and Japanese manga characters. More than 500,000 figurines will be produced this year, some of which will be sent to the United States. The family-run business supplies Maison Kayser in New York and Washington D.C., Mademoiselle Colette in Menlo Park and Palo Alto, and the Normandie bakery in Los Angeles. . . “
“. . . The fève is part of French tradition,” says Fabienne Souliès. “Some customers order a cake with four figurines inside — one for each of their grandchildren — and come back every year to continue their collection.” Far from being a simple trinket, the figurines actually help bakeries to sell more and are highly sought-after by the “fabophiles” who collect them. These enthusiasts meet up every year for an international fair held in Paris.” Bonne Fête! 

Just because: French Conversation for Dummies (I have no clue about this method!!)
https://france-amerique.com/fr/the-art-of-french-conversation-for-dummies/?ct=t(France-Amerique-newsletter-28-june-2018_COPY_01)

or practice French in Louisiana:
https://france-amerique.com/en/a-documentary-depicts-the-rebirth-of-french-in-louisiana/
 
Anyone headed to Cape Cod? Check out this blog for the best restaurants in the area:
https://www.capecodrestaurants.com/blog

And because I am a fan of anything Australian, be it people, landscape, sandwiches. . .  
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/14/world/australia/sausage-onion-bunnings-warehouse.html
 
As always, Bismillah and Bon Appétit

The Kasbah Chronicles: Nov.2018(cont. . .)

My secret garden at Dar Zitoun, our riad in Azemmour, 90 km south of Casablanca

CONTENTS:
Join me in Morocco. . .

ADVENTURES BY THE BOOK MOROCCO TOUR IS FILLING UP!
DEADLINE FOR EARLY BIRD SIGN-UP is DECEMBER 2, 2018
http://adventuresbythebook.com/moroccoadventure/

@novelnetwork bookchat page on Facebook

Sunday, Nov, 18, 4PM Pacific

Happiness is being close to home (for now)
Día de los Muertos in Escondido (CA)
In Santa Barbara: Art opening at the Botanic Garden
Solar Cookers in Danang, Vietnam
Overheard
News from Morocco and beyond
Meanwhile, back at Versailles

Join Kitty for a LIVE FACEBOOK CHAT
on Sunday, November 18, 2018
(see below)

‘Tis almost the season!
EDIBLE FLOWERS: A Kitchen Companion
Free shipping in the US for signed copies until December 5, 2018

Musings:

Thank goodness the elections are over. I thought I would be traveling at this time, but stayed home instead. Every day, when my husband and I take a walk along the Pacific Ocean, I remind myself how lucky I am to live here.  This inspirational passage in Ralph Marston’s daily newsletter hit home:
 “. . . The richness of your life does not live in some distant time or faraway place. It is here, now, ready to be experienced and expressed. . .”
OR, as NANCY (as I call it) , the very annoying, GARMIN female voice likes to repeat while I am driving: RECALIBRATING..

So I recalibrated. . .For me, that means putting the finishing touches on Le Riad au Bord de L’Oued, the French version of Mint Tea and Minarets. As it turns out, I am traveling without leaving home, communicating via Facetime with a childhood friend and retired professor in Nice, who is helping me polish the text. It is SO MUCH fun to dip into the French-speaking side of my brain to rediscover the appropriate wording. The next challenge, of course, is getting it published.

Another good reason to stay close to home was to celebrate the 22nd annual Día de los Muertos at California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Nov. 1, from 6-9PM (artcenter.org). The festivities kicked off with a procession around Grape Day Park by Public Address artist Luis Ituarte. Celebrants in costume escorted the cart filled with flowers specially grown in Baja California for the occasion. The museum provided the yellow marigolds called cempasuchitl or flower of the dead, to anyone who decorated the square meter of ground that serves as a personal “altar.”

My two friends and I brought a few mementos of our own to celebrate our mothers. Some families offered a loaf of “pan de muerto” to their departed. Food trucks! Mariachis! Sugar skulls for kids to decorate! This is a family friendly event to suit all age groups. Jot this on your calendar for November 1, 2019. It’s free!


One of the “altars” at Día de los Muertos

Upcoming art show opening in Santa Barbara:
If you live in or near Santa Barbara (CA), my dear friend, Lenore Tolegian Hughes has a new exhibit opening at the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens on December 6, 2-4pm. She illustrates the power of love in Ancient Greek mythology in an exhibition of visual art based on the love of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and harvest, for her daughter, Persephone. Her fascination with mythology inspires this dynamic exhibit of watercolors and collages. https://www.sbbg.org/classes-events

Overheard on the campus of Mira Costa College:
“. . . It should have never happened, but if it did. . .  I could handle it!”
(I wonder what that was about?!

And during our daily walk along the Pacific:
“. . . who wants to be eight months pregnant and go to Disneyland?

‘Tis almost the season:  Need a gift?

I will sign and ship copies of EDIBLE FLOWERS  anywhere in the United States. Send me an email (info@mintteaandminarets.com)
You can pay by Paypal (checks OK too!)
Free shipping until December 5, 2018.
$17 includes book and tax.

. . . speaking of gifts:
Have you visited http://sallybernstein.com ? Sally carries all sorts of delicious edibles, and much more. Check out her website.

French speakers rejoice!
https://france-amerique.com/fr/louisiana-joins-la-francophonie/
C’est officiel ! L’Etat américain rejoint l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) en tant que membre observateur. Sa candidature a été acceptée ce jeudi par les Etats membres de l’organisation réunis en sommet à Erevan en Arménie. Lire la suite.

It’s official! The American state has joined the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) as an observer member. Its application was accepted this Thursday by the organization’s member states at a summit in Erevan, Armenia. Read more.

Versailles restored: Thank you, America!
https://france-amerique.com/fr/versailles-american-splendor

News of Morocco and beyond:

Acrobats, story tellers, and musicians are nightly attractions on the famed Place Djemaa el Fna, Square of the Dead, in Marrakech (which we visit on the Adventures by the Book tour in April 2019), but this acrobat has gone far beyond walking between two tall buildings in Santiago, Chile. telquel.ma/videos/un-funambule-marocain:
High wire artist from Morocco performs in Santiago (CHILE):

Mustafa « Danger », funambule de profession, a réalisé son premier exploit en Amérique latine.
Solar Cooking in Vietnam

Solar Serve News No.56
 https://www.facebook.com/Solar-Serve-Vietnam-
I visited this forward-thinking company in Danang, last April. They need all the encouragement they can get!
“ we have received a huge order to help thousands of poor families in North of Vietnam with our clean cookstoves. We have already employed five new workers and others will be added soon if necessary. For us as Solar Serve it is a big challenge, so again stand with us. Thank you so much!
Greetings,
Solar Serve team

Bismillah
and
Bon Appétit!

Thanks to you, the Kasbah Chronicles is now in its tenth year!

The Kasbah Chronicles: Sept/Oct 2018: My Next tour to Morocco

BIG NEWS!! JOIN ME IN MOROCCO
After a twelve-year hiatus
I will  go “home again” and join forces with
ADVENTURES BY THE BOOK

Adventures by the Book is pleased to invite you to join us on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to experience the culture and cuisine of Morocco with world-renowned chef and author Kitty Morse!

Coming out of retirement after 12 years, Kitty has graciously offered to escort us on an Adventure to her breathtaking country of birth for perhaps the very last time. For 10 days and 9 nights, we will visit 7 different cities on excursions such as a winery lunch, camping in the Sahara under the stars, a camel ride, visiting local markets, a special tea at Kitty’s family’s riad, and so much more!

We aim to provide intimate and unique Adventures, so this trip is limited in size, and we expect it to sell out quickly! To learn more, or to download a Registration Agreement and reserve your space on this amazing trip, visit OUR WEBSITE
http://adventuresbythebook.com

We’ll see you in Morocco, Adventurers! 

Adventures by the Book 

[P.O. Box 421472, San Diego, CA 92142]

 [(619) 300-2532]

MUSINGS:
In my backyard
OH! NO! FIGS AGAIN!

Catalina Island Rediscovered
Merci, Mr. Wrigley

Overheard
At the beach

San Diego Book Fair
Lobster Taco=WOW!

Vive le bilinguisme :
Pourriel?? (YOU MUST read the explanation)

From Morocco and beyond

Kitty in the media:
Paella a la Californiana

California Center for the Arts: New Show!

MUSINGS:
Figs again . . .

Many of you have followed the saga of my fig tree over the last two years. It became so prolific, and so heavy we had to chop it down. But we made cuttings. Now, they are reaching for the heavens. This summer, they produced just enough figs to share with birds, rabbits, and possums…but not enough to make jam or chutney. I’ll wait. LONG YELLOW figs developed specifically for our San Diego County micro-climate, are still the best I have ever tasted.

Kitty 2 for 2
The blue jay got there first!

Once the handful of figs harvested, we headed out of town for a return trip to Catalina Island off the coast of Long Beach (CA). I have written about Mr. Wrigley’s utopia before. Each time I set foot in Avalon, I am struck by the chewing gum magnate’s vision: He conceived the island as a holiday destination for everyman, nurturing the environment and excluding cars. The anchor remains its extraordinary art deco Casino, still the principal attraction.
Since we had explored Avalon on previous occasions, we decided to take a boat ride to Two Harbors, a diminutive beach nestled on a sandy crescent 50 mn up the coast. I can’t recommend this boat ride highly enough, especially on a sunny day. Two Harbors is also the narrowest point on the island, and you can walk from one side to another in about 20 minutes. We faced a small flotilla of sailboats bobbing in the emerald water during lunch on the beach, in an atmosphere reminiscent of a Mediterranean hideaway.

I announced the San Diego Book Fair in my last Chronicles. This is an event well-worth attending with dozens of authors from San Diego and beyond, and a wide-ranging children’s book section. Adventures by the Book (tour to Morocco organizer!)and Novel Network, my hosts for the event, had secured a prime spot at Liberty Station.

Kitty with Selina of ABTB
Shamefully, I had never set foot at this San Diego landmark located on the grounds of an old military base. No wonder Old Town San Diego has fallen into the doldrums. Its “authentic” depiction of the first settlement in the state is dusty and somewhat drab. Liberty Station, on the other hand, vibrates with activity, houses a couple of museums (New Immigrants Museum and a Museum of Comedy, I think?)..dance studios, stores, restaurants, and vast expanses of lawn for picnics and other events. A fun place in spite of planes landing and leaving Lindbergh Field. https://libertystation.com/directory/all
My main goal after signing a few books was to look for the FOOD! And the Liberty Public Market offered something for every palate: Lobster tacos anyone? https://libertystation.com/go/liberty-public-market.


Kitty in the media:
Coronado, CA (another utopia!) the “island” in the middle of San Diego Bay,  now ranks its own  Crown City Magazine. See Paella Perfection
https://www.crowncitymagazine.com/
and my recipe for Paella Californiana
(It works!)

Overheard at Carlsbad beach:
Two, fifty something women, walking and chatting:
I need to find a different way to express my love. . . . I guess!”

on the beach walk

Overheard in Avalon:
9AM.. group of 10 20-something men and women in tight fitting sports gear.
“Yeah. We just didthe Alps!”

New show at California Center for the Arts in Escondido (CA)
Call ahead for a docent-led tour.
DesEscondido/No Longer Hidden: Public Address Art Exhibition
September 29 – November 18, 2018
artcenter.org

LE FRANCAIS A l’HONNEUR : FRENCH IS IN!

Vive le bilinguisme :
https://france-amerique.com/fr/the-boom-in-dual-language-classes-in-new-york-2-3-demand-is-high-enough-to-open-50-more-schools/?

word: https://www.hopper.com/fr/corp/about.html

Who says French is moribund?
What is POURRIEL ?  C’est pas joli ca ?
Let me break the word down for English speakers:
Courriel=e-mail
Pourri= rotten
Pourriel= rotten emails (I surmise?) = SPAM !!!!!!!!!!
And you can reserve your plane ticket while doing so!
https://www.hopper.com/fr/corp/about.html

De Marrakech à l’ONU, la quête d’empowerment de trois jeunes Marocains

News from Morocco:
A new museum in Marrakech dedicated to WATER
https://lepetitjournal.com/rabat/lun-des-joyaux-de-marrakech-le-musee-pour-la-civilisation-de-leau-240269

Moroccans and water conservation:
https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-03-29/these-moroccans-are-turning-foggy-days-solution-their-water-crisis

A TECH CAMP FOR GIRLS!
PRI’s The World: Morocco and women’s career dreams
https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-09-11/these-girls-morocco-tech-camp-presents-rare-opportunity-pursue-their-career?

For these girls in Morocco, a tech camp presents a rare opportunity to pursue their career dreams

PRACTICE FRENCH IN THE US:
Practice your French in Louisiana : On parle français en Louisiane
https://france-amerique.com/en/louisianas-application-to-la-francophonie-to-be-determined-in-october/

Brush up on your provençal:
https://lepetitjournal.com/culture/labecedaire-des-expressions-provencales-225937

Provence: Les Romanichels (gypsies)
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/18/world/europe/catalan-gypsies-perpignan-france.html

Book news:
Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories
Ebook out soon on Amazon.com
NEXT:
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued (French version)

Comme toujours,  as always:

Bismillah
and Bon Appétit!

The Kasbah Chronicles July 2018: More Vietnam and more Morocco!

 

June and July 2018
LA VACHE QUI RIT IS EVERYWHERE!

A Vietnamese snack…

MUSINGS
. . . more Vietnam adventures
When in Hue, head for Han’s
You missed a good one: Book Club Bingo and Novel Network
California Center for the Arts: Watercolor Show
Got art? Need frames?
Very, very cool: radio stations around the world
Cookbook collectors: get organized
Talks and presentations
Lots of interesting links en français
and in English
Tipping remains a mystery? Here’s help.

Matisha thrives!


Spanish Potato Tortilla..with tomatoes

Musings:

As I write, the 12 young soccer players and their coach have been extricated from that ghastly Thai cave. Thank Goodness the divers succeeded. The far away drama took our minds of dramatic political events closer to home. And then the peripatetic Anthony Bourdain decided to take his own life. I don’t know about you, but my brain is exhausted. What else is there to do but carry on!

Last month,  I left you in Hanoi.. Today, let me take you to Hue:

This former Imperial City and now a World Heritage Site, lies midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon.) Its imposing Chinese Citadel suffered major damage during the “American War” and is undergoing extensive Unesco-funded restoration. Less known to the outside world, is that Hue is renowned for its cuisine. When in Hue, head for Han’s and sit down among the locals for a memorable lunch:

Then take part in Being like a farmer at Eco Garden. We began with a leisurely bicycle ride among orchards of pumelos and rice paddies of Thyu Bieu village a few miles outside of town.

After our bike escapade, we donned the outfits of a Vietnamese farmer, complete with brown baggy pants, loose shirt, and coolie hat, before trying our hands at milling rice. I tried in vain to manipulate the grindstone and sift the rice meal. . . not possible. Before long, we were hard at work digging for sweet potatoes along the banks of the Perfume River. Later, we savored the fruits of our labor at dinner served under a thatched-roof hut and a cacophony of cicadas.

The next morning a mini cruise on the Perfume River was capped with a cooking class at the Hue EcoLodge.

Clad in EcoLodge aprons, and inspired by the scent of grilling pork kabobs marinated in lemongrass and stir-fried green beans fresh from the lodge’s garden plots, we followed the instructions of our young instructor. As I bit into a warm bite of the sweet potato we had just dug up, it occurred to me that the Hue Ecolodge may be riding the crest of a new food trend: Farm-to-Chopsticks

 Suite au prochain numéro (next time): low-key, historic Hoi An..

I came across this site par hasard earlier a few weeks ago. In case you missed their review of Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories, a couple of years ago, here it is. FYI: Alimentum is one of the best sites for food literature on the web. Thank you Alimentum

http://www.alimentumjournal.com/review-of-mint-tea-minarets-b/#.Wxfu04plCfA

Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories

“… But if you don’t cook Moroccan at home, are not near a Moroccan restaurant, and are nowhere near Morocco, you can still smell the aromas, feel the air and atmosphere, hear the languages of both Arabic and French, by opening a book: Kitty Morse’s Mint Tea and Minarets.

Ms. Morse was born in Casablanca and spent her growing-up years there. Her father was English, her mother French. So her perspective straddles both Western and North African customs. Her newest book (she’s written many) is an exotic yet personal memoir festooned with spectacular recipes.

Ms. Morse journeys back to her family’s home just outside Casablanca. She has a mission: to sprinkle her father’s ashes in the river near Dar Zitoun (the name of her family home) and to transfer the title of the property from her father to herself. Both activities come with a full set of red tape that puts Ms. Morse through an obstacle course filled with cultural antiquity and modern day greed. The true colors and characters of Morocco emerge. This is at once familiar, frustrating, and endearing to Ms. Morse. Her endeavors bring her back in contact with a large part of her identity—a part she treasures and needs. The longer she stays, the more she is drawn back into this unique lifestyle. And its food. ..”

New this month: My editor and I are hard at work turning Mint Tea and Minarets into an eBook downloadable on Kindle and all other platforms. I am very excited since I only have 120 hard copies left.. with no thought of reprint. .

Stay tuned! Use your KINDLE!
Kitty in the media:

Seasonal Pantry: How to make a Middle Eastern feast

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

This one is inspired by a recipe in “Cooking At the Kasbah: Recipes From My Moroccan Kitchen” by Kitty Morse (Chronicle Books, 1998, $22.95). NOW IN ITSTENTH PRINTING!

Kitty’s next presentation:

I love our local libraries. They serve as community centers for all age groups rather than as just a depository for books. And librarians are models of patience. Last week, I was invited by the Poway Public library. Thank you for the lovely welcome!

On July 25th, at 1PM, catch me at the San Marcos Public library for a talk (and food samplings) on Mint Tea and Minarets. It’s fun, educational, and air conditioned! And need I add, FREE of charge!

For information:

2 Civic Center Drive

San Marcos, CA 92069

(760) 891-3000

New art exhibit in Escondido:

The California Center for the Arts in Escondido (I am a docent there, book a private tour!)is holding its upcoming exhibition beginning July 14 to August 26th.

The American Watercolor Society 151st Traveling exhibition and local color.http://artcenter.org/museum/

Amis français, le saviez-vous:

French school named for North County D-Day veteran

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/columnists/logan-jenkins/sd-me-jenkins-france-20180601-story.html

“…. une école a mon nom. . . ..from our own North San Diego County….who knew??

Book clubs: Have you checked out Novel Network? In the last Chronicles, I announced that I participated, along with 22 other writers, in Book Club Bingo, an event organized by the newly formed Novel Network and Adventures by the Book. You missed a good one! Close to 100 participants gathered on the top floor of San Diego’s architectural wonder, our Central Library, for a day of seminars, meet and greets with authors, a luscious box lunch, and networking galore. This is the brilliant concept: Book clubs register for free on the Novel Network website, look for an author (now at 45 and increasing) and book their favorite. Voila… I can also conduct SKYPE interviews no matter where your club meets!    Ever thought of writing a family cookbook? I can help you with that too!


Got Art? Need frames?

Just to let you know we have a wonderful frame shop right here, in Vista. The gifted Gina of Art and Frame Studio, 610 E. Vista Way (760)806-7777 (same parking lot as Chin’s restaurant) carries a wide assortment of frames. She just reframed a half-dozen pictures for me, and I am thrilled.

Links of interest about Morocco and elsewhere:

An addictive site: Live music streaming from stations around the world

http://radio.garden/live/vancouver and elsewhere

For a laugh and an education! Accents around the world

https://localingual.com/?ISO=FR

Cookbook collectors may find this of interest: Organize your collection. . .  I have always wondered how to do that…

https://www.aspentimes.com/news/weekly/modern-familycookbook-collections-get-user-friendly-thanks-to-tech
 
CELL PHONES IN CLASSROOMS? What do you think?? Teachers, especially?
 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/07/french-school-students-to-be-banned-from-using-mobile-phones?CMP=share_btn_link

The Beat Generation in Tangier:

Vous les connaissez ces messieurs-dames?

Sooooo condescending from my point of view. Didn’t they have anything better to do, surrounded by maids, cooks, drivers, and who knows what other kind of help, but smoke, drink, get high, and criticize the “natives”? Is that what makes a literary icon?

https://lepetitjournal.com/casablanca/le-saviez-vous-quand-tanger-accueillait-la-beat-generation-231531

Les courses automobiles à Casa dans les années 50,

When I was growing up in Casablanca, my father helped organize car races. Remember Sterling Moss? I recall the cars roaring along the Corniche and meeting the famed racer: who does these days?

https://lepetitjournal.com/casablanca/le-saviez-vous-quand-le-maroc-organisait-son-grand-prix-de-formule-1-231372

 Zagora, in the Moroccan Sahara. We hunted far and low for medfouna (meaning: hidden) which I managed to track down (this was in 1970), and adapt for my first cookbook, Come with me to the Kasbah: A Cook’s tour of Morocco. Sort of a cross between stuffed pizza and calzone. . .

http://www.bbc.com/travel/gallery/20180122-madfouna-moroccos-surprising-take-on-pizza

IS the US a visa free country?

https://www.passportindex.org/?country=us

Incroyable mais vrai? Et honteux….And I thought being bilingual was an advantage:

https://www.theguardian.com/us/news/2018/may/22/speaking-spanish-dangerous-america-aaron-schlossberg-ice?

France: Dommage, les bons petits bistros disparaissent. . .

Les petits bistros de quartier disparaissent : https://france-amerique.com/fr/parisian-bistros-appeal-for-unesco-world-heritage-status/?

Meanwhile in Tunisia, where I spent many weeks researching recipes for my book,The Vegetarian Table: North Africa (Chronicle Books)

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2018/may/02/return-to-tunis-why-now-is-the-time-to-visit-this-historic-city? (Actually, Tunis looks much like Casablanca, a treasure trove of Moorish Art deco architecture. Sidi Bou Said, on the sea, is charming! It is VERY VERY hot in Tunis in the summer)

And in 2016, Tunisia ranked 62nd on the Global Entrepreneurship Index. Today it ranks 40th worldwide and is No. 1 in Africa for entrepreneurs.

https://www.ozy.com/acumen/the-unlikely-hotbed-for-african-entrepreneurs/86977

Bravo to Khaled Bouchoucha who started his career working on planes – now he’s running a startup that optimizes the health of hives. https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/the-data-engineer-on-a-mission-to-save-tunisias-bees/87037

 Confused about tipping? I am. Here is a possible guide.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-confusing-tipping-situations_us

Has anyone cooked with this? I haven’t tried it yet. I have to laugh though: you have to purchase most ingredients to take advantage of the barley inside the packet?





To keep you cool, a Vietnamese drink!

Bismillah
and Bon appétit.

Kitty

 

 

The Kasbah Chronicles Feb 2018 edition: It’s the process

The Kasbah Chronicles
February 2018 edition

 Happy Valentine’s DayCONTENTS:
Musings:
Note to self: It’s the process. . . .stoopid….

Last call for Niki de St Phalle
at the Escondido Center for the Arts.

I am off to Vietnam in April:
any insights or special addresses to share?

It’s happening!  Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion is now an eBook.
Download through Amazon.com

Kitty’s presentations and bookings:
LIFE, Mira Costa College
Poway Library
Does your club or group need a speaker this summer? Call me!

Bravo to my creative colleagues: Nan, Susan and Naz

Travel: News of Morocco and beyond

A world of local food from Peru to Mexico and Vietnam
Pisco Restaurant Review

A reader’s insights on the InstantPot pressure cooker.

Musings:

As I muse…. and sifted through eFiles, I realized with a start that The Kasbah Chronicles is now entering its tenth year. Pas croyable. Ten years of sharing news of San Diego County, Morocco, and beyond. Whatever made me think, à l’origine, that anyone would read it? And read it some of you do, judging from your encouraging feedback. For me, a great part of sharing this information comes down to . . . It’s the process….stoopid...: Why am I compelled to jot words on “paper,” electronic or otherwise. I can’t explain! Neck ache, backache and all, typing standing up… I love sharing my musings with all of you. So merci and thank you for reading.

Last call for Niki de St Phalle exhibit!!
I have been going on and on about the Niki de St Phalle exhibit at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, a milestone for the center. The show celebrates the 15th year of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle (www.queencalifia.org) the only public park of its kind in the US. The show ends on March 4th, so hurry and call up to make a reservation for a docent-led tour. The exhibit is paired with A Mosaic Invitational, featuring masterful mosaic works by local artists. Speaking of mosaics, did you know: San Diego Historic Tile and Ceramics Self Guided Tour map showcases mosaics from Balboa Park and Downtown with sites from the House of Hospitality to Little Italy.
It was my pleasure to introduce Niki and her nanas to high school students from La Jolla Country Day last week… best of all EN FRANCAIS!!
View the video here:
 https://www.facebook.com/theCCAE/videos/10155444625709370/
Instagram :  https://www.instagram.com/theccae/
To book a tour contact Arts Education Program Supervisor, Kirsten Barrientes at 760-839-4176 or kbarrientes@artcenter.org

Eva Struble, a professor in the school of Art and Design at San Diego State, was invited to show her work in conjunction with the exhibit. Cover Crops reflects her interest in San Diego County farms. Eva’s talk, free and open to the public, was co-sponsored by Edible San Diego magazine http://ediblesandiego.ediblecommunities.com. The show reflects two of my own passions: one for art (food of course) and the other for California farms. Coastal Roots, Solidarity, and Terra Madre farms were her inspiration.

Visit Edible San Diego magazine’s excellent website for up to date information on San Diego’s food scene: http://ediblesandiego.ediblecommunities.com/drink/guide-wineries-san-diego-county

Please share with your friends:
Exciting news on the book front: Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion is now an eBook, easily downloaded on Amazon. If the book isn’t up yet, please try again. I am dealing with a national distributor in Chicago. https://www.amazon.com/Edible-Flowers-Companion-Kitty-Morse-ebook

Classes and presentations;
Do you know about L.I.F.E, LEARNING IS FOR EVERYONE, a program of lifelong learning at Mira Costa College? If not, here is their site http://www.miracosta.edu/community/LIFE. I will be the featured speaker on edible flowers, on Friday, Match 16th. Free and open to the public

I will be at the Poway Library in July…I am available for speaking engagements throughout the summer from May 2018 on (after my trip to Vietnam.)

About Morocco and beyond:
An encouraging economic update for Morocco:
http://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/the-new-emerging-african-power-morocco/83279

The fastest train in Africa zips through the Moroccan countryside.
http://fr.le360.ma/economie/video-le-maroc-bat-le-record-de-vitesse-sur-rail-en-afrique-154175

Should couscous be classified as a World Heritage item? Mais oui, bien sûr.
https://lepetitjournal.com/casablanca/actualites/couscous-bientot-au-patrimoine-mondial-de-lunesco-222918

GOOD news for travelers. US State Dept says  Morocco is among the safest, alongside Canada, Norway etc, . . . https://lepetitjournal.com/casablanca/actualites/voyage-le-maroc-parmi-les-pays-surs-des-americains-222934

Pour les voyageurs américains, le gouvernement de Washington a classé les pays du monde en quatre catégories : ‘‘Pays considérés comme sûrs’’, ‘‘Pays où la prudence est recommandée’’, ‘‘Etes-vous sûrs de vouloir visiter ce pays’’ et ‘‘Vous allez dans ce pays à vos risques et périls’’. Et le Maroc figure dans le 1ère catégorie en compagnie de pays comme le Canada, Islande, Norvège, Suède, Finlande, Irlande, Monaco, Suisse, Liechtenstein… Quant aux voisins algériens, tunisiens et égyptiens, ils figurent dans la catégorie ‘‘Pays où la prudence est recommandée’’.

Why I LOVE love Spain! It’s almost HOME!! And their manchego? The cheese in Spain stays mainly in the . . . .
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/15/spain-mexico-trade-deal-manchego-cheese-dispute?

Meawhile, camels (really dromedaries) take part in a Saudi beauty contest:
https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-01-26/what-camel-beauty-contest-can-tell-us-about-future-saudi-arabia?

and in Hollywood, les français et les Oscars: La French touch aux Oscars, NINE French-inspired nominations. . .
https://france-amerique.com/fr/the-french-touch-at-the-oscars/?ct=t(FA_Hebdo_du_5_octobre_2017)
and
Bessie Coleman: les ailes noires en France
https://france-amerique.com/fr/bessie-coleman-black-wings-over-france/

Ca alors, what next for the French language??
https://lepetitjournal.com/leila-slimani-mme-francophonie-de-macron-veut-deringardiser-le-francais-220888
Leïla Slimani, “Mme Francophonie” de Macron, veut “déringardiser le français” (wants to update the French language), and make it one of the top three languages in the world. .
‘Le français “pourrait” en effet devenir la deuxième langue internationale, derrière l’anglais. Elle est la quatrième aujourd’hui, devancée par l’espagnol et l’arabe. Mais cela ne pourra être que “si les efforts en faveur de l’éducation des pays francophones sont suffisants”,

Ever wonder about air kissing? Pourquoi se fait-on la bise ?
https://lepetitjournal.com/shanghai/communaute/bise-pourquoi-france
La bise est une coutume typiquement française ( a French custom). . . .

Anthony Bourdain’s reading list is eclectic!

Check out my creative colleagues:
Sally Bernstein and her newsletter:
http://www.sallybernstein.com/food/chefs-corner/mailorder_books.htm

Nan Sterman, host of A Growing Passion (http://agrowingpassion.com) on KPBS holds classes around the county to help you jump start your spring plantings. Join Nan for a hands-on workshop where you will plant your entire summer vegetable garden in just two hours. Nan provides the supplies – you take home the plants seeded and ready to sprout info@PlantSoup.com

Susan McBeth, the brainchild behind Adventures by the Book, whose mission is to link authors and readers, launches a nationwide adventure: NovelNetwork… https://novelnetwork.com/author-membership/
Book clubs, register to find an author/speaker. Authors, register to let book clubs know you are available as a speaker.

After founding a company that paired consumers with farmers around the county, Naz Athina Kallel, is launching a “Craigs List” for food lovers. Save Good Food http://savegoodfood.com is San Diego’s Food & Beverages Classifieds for Farms, Chefs, Brewers, Winemakers and Artisan Food Makers. Chefs, farmers, fishermen, ranchers, restaurant owners, artisan food & beverage makers, brewers, wine makers, event planners, purveyors will find a powerful social platform for buying, selling, collaborating and investing in local food. First 3 months free and then only $10 per month for unlimited ads for sellers. Buyers always free.

My new favorite snack:
Roasted Brussels Sprouts


One restaurant  Happy Hour featured these addictive sprouts, all for the unbelievably “low price” of $7.99. $7.99? I decided to make them myself:
Buy Brussels Sprouts
Trim outer leaves
Cut sprouts in half
Parboil in boiling water 1 to 2 mns
Drain
Pour into a large baking dish
Sprinkle with olive oil and garlic
Roast for 25 minutes, turning once.
Snack. (Better than chocolate truffles, and lo-cal)

San Diego’s multicultural North County:
No need to drive down to San Diego’s Asian shopping district on Convoy Street. Just head to 840 East Valley Parkway to find Cho Viet Nam (aka: The Asian Market and formerly La Sorpresa Barata, don’t you love it) a large market stocking Asian specialties. The adjoining take out, So’n Tra, offers excellent banh mi sandwiches, authentic and flavorful eggrolls much like the “nem” I grew up on in Casablanca (there is a thriving French speaking Vietnamese community in Morocco.)

And for good measure, a new Peruvian restaurant opened in the North County, off Palomar Airport Road, close to Legoland CA. Pisco took over the space Sammy’s Pizza occupied, and has the same owner. I have never met Sammy Ladecky but that man has a palate that never misses. The first time I tasted his roast chicken, I knew the flavorings were Middle Eastern. This time, he heads south: Pisco is named for the national drink of Peru (and Chile, depending upon who you talk to), and Peruvian flavors fill the menu. From excellent Chicken Empanadas, and leche de Tigre… an excellent ceviche, though, in my view, lacking in the bolder flavors of “our” Mexican ceviches. I sampled a Peruvian ceviche in Chile (where Peruvian cuisine is considered “haute”) and noticed the same thing. I loved Pisco’s papas a la huancaina, and the classic drink of Pisco Sour with crème de banane and strawberry puree tastes like dessert. A riot of a treat for anyone having a birthday is a MOUNTAIN of cotton candy. Definitely a place to try. However, I will not abandon the old Sammy’s and its terrific thin-crusted pizzas. www.piscorotisserie.com

Aren’t we cosmopolitan?!
Egypt comes to Quail Botanic Gardens: UNTIL MARCH 31, 2018 at the San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024
For the second year, the tapestries from the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre in Egypt will be on display. The Egyptian artists vividly celebrate the flowers of the desert, villages, and Nile River in their work . . . Fifteen wool tapestries and twenty cotton weavings will be on display in the Ecke Building at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. Admission/Cost: $14

Reprinted with permission:
Joy, a longtime Kasbah Chronicle reader allowed me to reprint this letter. She is an advocate of the new Instant pot, an implement which I have not even SEEN yet! Some of you may find her input of interest. This is a SERIOUS cook who makes her OWN MOROCCAN OUARKA dough!

Date: Mon, January 01, 2018 9:55 am
To: info@mintteaandminarets.com
Happy New Year, Kitty! Thanks for another wonderful year of Moroccan email goodies.
 I am now the owner of 2 electric pressure cookers, a Power Pressure Cooker 10 quart for the last year or so, and an Instant Pot 8 quart (for this Christmas). A most wonderful 7+ vegetable Berber Tagine recipe I saw on YouTube comes out perfect in about 5 minutes or less. For the chicken variation I brown the chicken first so it is at least half cooked because raw chicken pieces cook in 10 minutes and I don’t want the veggies to be over done, so if I brown them first it is all finished in 5 minutes or less. Yum!!!
You have mentioned in the past that modern Moroccan cooks often resort to their pressure cookers. Perhaps this year on Kasbah Chronicles you could share some recipes using that technique as it is done in Morocco. Of course the Moroccan cookers are probably stovetop versions, but the new electric cookers are amazing doing things that stovetop cookers can’t do because stovetops take more water to run them and the pressures are higher than an electric cooker. For the electric cookers, think “baked” ziti put in dry out of the box and yummy cheesy goodness after an 8 minute cycle (also lasagna with normal noodles dry out of the box), perfect hard boiled eggs on a 6 minute cycle, soups in 10-15 minutes, dry beans without soaking in 15-40 minutes, steamed flans in 15-20 min etc etc. 5 minutes was a little too long for my pre-browned chicken tagine, 4 minutes would have been better.
If you don’t have one of these yet, it will revolutionize your life in the kitchen. I would suggest the Instant Pot or the Power Pressure Cooker (“PPXL”), both run at the same psi pressure ranges 10.2-11.6 and around 7.2. but the PPXL also has a 3.2 psi slow cooker cycle. The Instant Pots default to the higher pressure settings for their presets, and the PPXL defaults to the lower pressure settings for their presets which I like better, but either can be done with either. All the presets are just different times for the default psi’s. High pressure on the PPXL is the “Canning cycle”, the Instant Pot allows to choose high or low pressure with a pressure toggle button, but the result is the same.  Many other electric cookers default to 5psi and 10 psi which is not as versatile and takes lots longer. If you already have one, share with us some Moroccan pressure cooker faves!
J.